One of my favorite sources of news about the post office is the blog http://www.savethepostoffice.com. I urge you to also bookmark this wonderful news source about all things related to the ongoing saga about the real story of the postal service.
The mainstream media is just beginning to finally write about some issues beyond talking points of folks like Darrell Issa and Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. However, even though Americans in every single U.S. city affected by potential post office closures or processing centers emphatically say absolutely NO, the media is only partially covering the story and much news is only in local news.
The fact is that every single community told their post office will be closed, “relocated” or “consolidated” has repeatedly fought to save their post office. The people in each community are unhappy about the potential negative effects economically, socially, and on the entire well-being of the community.
It’s Time to Stop Forcing USPS to “Act Like a Business”
Why is the U.S. Postal Service forced to “act like a business?” As a result the top executives of USPS claim their high salaries and bonuses which exceed the Vice President’s salary and Cabinet Level Secretaries are warranted because they are supposed to be comparable to a “business model.”
Here is a recent list of USPS high Executive salaries. However, as the Save The Post Office Blog points our here, the list does not include the bonuses which for some folks could be over $25,000/year or more. Here is a letter from Congresswoman Hochul to the Chairman of the USPS Board of Governors regarding the unusually out of touch high salaries of the USPS executives.
The Executive Team seems to pride itself on creating “efficiencies” at the same time they are requesting that the Postal Regulatory Commission not reveal a study they conducted that shows potential negative revenue impacts of the combined strategies they have to cut costs like:
- Closing and selling off over 3600 post offices, many historic in nature with important historic murals and art
- Closing and selling off over 252 processing plants which would put tremendous pressure on the people processing mail in remaining plants
- Potentially slowing First Class mail from overnight delivery to two to three days.
- Potentially cutting back mail delivery from 6 to 5 days.
- Potentially cutting or eliminating through attrition and other means over 100,000 to 220,000 jobs
In its submission to keep revenue impact information secret, the Postal Service claims that releasing revenue projections would provide an advantage to its competitors. I am concerned that it is the Postal Service’s proposal itself that will force customers to take their business to private competitors. The Postal Service is proposing sweeping reductions in service standards, processing facilities, and Post Offices. Congress and the public have a right to understand the aggregate impact of those decisions on Postal Service revenue. The Postal Service has proposed specific facility closures on the premise that such actions will save money. If it actually would result in greater revenue losses than savings, then both Congress and the public should have access to that information. Such information is relevant because multiple Members of Congress have petitioned the Postal Service to delay or stop facility closures and because the public is participating in a statutorily-protected public input process on this proposal through the Postal Regulatory Commission. Both aggregate and regional revenue data could have direct bearing on Members’ decision with respect to postal legislation and on citizens’ comments with respect to proposed facility closures, which is why that revenue data should be made public. While the Postal Service’s submission expresses concern about competition, it is precisely because of my concern that the Postal Service’s own downsizing proposals will divert mail to competitors and harm the Postal Service financially that I am filing to make revenue information public.
Based on the arguments submitted above, I am requesting that the Commission make public the Postal Service’s market research information file as Library Reference, USPS-LR-N2012-IINPI4 and NPI.
Professor Steve Hutkins states in “Bad News Comes in Threes: How Congress, Industry and Management Have Made a Mess Out of Things,”:
The idea of the Postal Service as an essential national infrastructure that serves the American people has been seriously undermined. This democratic vision has been replaced by the view that the Postal Service is merely another player in the mailing industry, a player whose primary purpose is to facilitate the business model and increase the profits of commercial marketers and mailers.
It is inappropriate that USPS hides behind having to “act like a business” in order to suppress its study on the combined effects of its policies and strategic plans which would gut the infrastructure of the U.S. Postal Service. Already the U.S. Postal Service is doing everything it can to cut the public out of appeals regarding historic brick and mortar post offices like those in Venice and La Jolla, California, by classifying these post office closures and sales as “relocations.”
We have to put the “public” and “democracy” back into the U.S. Postal Service leadership that seems to have another agenda other than serving the American people and fulfilling the Postal Service’s original mission to provide a service to bind up this nation and facilitate communication for the public good. It is undemocratic that the USPS is trying to cut the public out of a process that prevents them from filing an appeal regarding the closure and sale of their post offices.
If this is “acting like a business” then Congress must act to change the model currently being used for the U.S. Postal Service before the fire sale of our historic New Deal post offices and other historic post office treasures are sold on the market for a quick profit despite the protests of each local community.